Saturday 21 January 2017

The sky is not the limit


It would seem you can't take the trainer out of the girl.

"What was your biggest learning" I asked my friend's 13 years old son who had accompanied me to Edinburgh last night to hear Colonel Chris Hadfield, astronaut and previous commander of the International Space Station, speak. 

"To go after what I want to do in life" he replied. 

I certainly couldn't ask for more from a very early birthday present.

On the other hand, having written only the day before on taking humanity into business, or more precisely on not leaving humanity at the door, Auntie Alison had other learning from the talk. Others there I'm sure will have taken other insights from hearing him speak. 

Space exploration has for many reasons asked us to consider our humanity.

Back in the 60's when I was born Russia and America's goal was the moon, and yet what it seems space exploration gave us first was a view of the Earth. 

Here's a film called the overview effect which shares the insight about humanity from those who have seen the earth from way out there in space.

And whilst not mentioned specifically during last night's talk here's Chris talking about how the overview effect gave him perspective. If you have time do please listen to him talk about "seeing the world over and over again until it seeped into me permanently."
On that day in November 1962 when I was born "the goal to go to the moon was not just hard, it was impossible". In fact, on the morning of July 20 1969, as Chris reminded us "you still couldn't land on the moon." 

Then at 20:18 UTC this happened:

The impossible became possible, and the sky was no longer the limit

The first words spoken by Neil Armstrong as he stepped onto the lunar surface say it all

"One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."

Fast forward to 2017 and you have an International space station that was "built by 15 countries who don't get along". Built because they had a "shared vision of the impossible".

In questions at the end Chris was asked about his aspirations for his future. He spoke of the need to inspire the young and "let them see things that don't exist yet."

Space exploration, those first steps on the moon, the journey there and since certainly invite us to think about what it means to be human.  Invite us to have a vision of the impossible so that those things that don't exist yet at some point will exist.

I realised when I wrote my post on Thursday "It's just the way business is" that many believe that it's impossible to turn the tanker that is business around and away from its current course. I wrote then about not giving the belief, that it's impossible to take humanity into business, any room to take hold.

Last night reminded me - If humanity can do the impossible and go to the moon, humanity can certainly do the impossible and go into the board room! 

I'll leave you with a video of Chris singing space oddity from space

"Can you hear me Major Tom"

Alison Smith
The Purchasing Coach
Inspiring Change - inside and out

To explore taking humanity into business, and into purchasing too, do please get in touch - in comments below, by email or call me +44 (0)7770 538159. 

Humanity by way of our soft skills gets a look in in the Purchasing Coach Soft Skills Toolkit that brings together a series of postcards from your soft skills - it's entitled Dear Procurement, with love from your soft skills. More here.

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